This is the fifteenth in a series of posts dealing with the proper interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP). If you’re new to this subject (or to my blog), you’ll want to read the essay with which I introduced the series (just click here).

My goal in these eschatological adventures is two-fold.

First, I want to open up something of the Christ-centered truth and beauty of OTKP to my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Secondly, I want to reason a little with my premillennial brethren. In particular, I want to make the case that we all will best understand, enjoy, and profit from OTKP when we see that its true sphere of fulfillment is: 1) Christ, 2) the New Covenant he instituted by his blood, 3) the two-staged spiritual Kingdom he has already introduced (and will soon consummate), and, 4) the New Covenant community he is creating out of elect Jews and Gentiles: the Church.

In short, I would like my premillennial brothers to reconsider the amillennial approach to the interpretation of OTKP.

Since the end of the age will soon be upon us, it is important that we stand together as much as possible. Seeing eye to eye on eschatology would definitely help. These essays—and the book in progress from which they are extracted—represent my best effort at contributing to that worthy goal.

 

The Triumph of the Kingdom (Daniel 7)

The apocalyptic vision here under consideration is one of a number found in the book of Daniel in which we behold the course, conflict, and climax of Salvation History from the time of the Babylonian Empire until the coming the Kingdom of God in its fullness at the end of the age (Dan. 2, 7, 9, 11, 12).

The purpose of these visions is clear: to give God’s suffering people hope.

The method is also clear: to give them hope by means of repeated symbolic representations of: 1) God’s absolute sovereignty over history; 2) the necessity—and brevity—of holy suffering on the part of his saints; 3) the final overthrow of the enemies of God and his people; and 4) the final rescue, restoration, and vindication of the saints on the Day of Judgment, when the Kingdom appears in fullness, triumphing once and for all over the kingdoms of this fallen world.

Needless to say, such prophecies are of great eschatological importance. But given the abundance and complexity of the symbolism involved—and the multitude of interpretations offered—how can we interpret them with confidence?

The short answer is: When we employ the New Covenant Hermeneutic (NCH).

The long answer is: When we let Christ and the apostles be our theological guides; when we have understood the nature and structure of the two-fold spiritual Kingdom they proclaimed; when we follow them in seeing OTKP as NT truth mystically communicated under  OT type and shadow . . . then, and only then, will we be able to approach these otherwise daunting visions with true spiritual confidence.

With Daniel 7 before us, let us see if these bold assertions are really true. In particular, let us see if this prophecy really does confirm the two-fold spiritual Kingdom of NT eschatology, thereby enabling us confidently to decide between the amillennial and premillennial interpretations, not only of Daniel 7, but of all OTKP.

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This is the fourteenth in a short (!) series of posts dealing with the proper interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP). If you’re new to this subject (or to my blog), you’ll want to read the essay with which I introduced the series (just click here).

My goal in these eschatological adventures is two-fold.

First, I want to open up something of the Christ-centered truth and beauty of OTKP to my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Secondly, I want to reason a little with my premillennial brethren. In particular, I want to make the case that we all will best understand, enjoy, and profit from OTKP when we see that its true sphere of fulfillment is: 1) Christ, 2) the New Covenant he instituted by his blood, 3) the two-staged spiritual Kingdom he has already introduced (and will soon consummate), and, 4) the New Covenant community he is creating out of elect Jews and Gentiles: the Church.

In short, I would like my premillennial brothers to reconsider the amillennial approach to the interpretation of OTKP.

Since the end of the age will soon be upon us, it is important that we stand together as much as possible. Seeing eye to eye on eschatology would definitely help. These essays—and the book in progress from which they are extracted—represent my best effort at contributing to that worthy goal.

Ezekiel’s Vision of the World to Come (40-48)

THIS  is the capstone, the last of Ezekiel’s three Oracles of Good News.

In the first, God promised his people a final restoration to the land, the coming of the Messiah, the gift of Spirit, and the fullness of his covenant blessings (Ezek. 36-37).

In the second, he promised to rescue them from the Last Battle, and to destroy, once and for all, all their surrounding enemies (Ezek. 38-39).

Here in the third oracle, he completes his words of encouragement, giving them a vision of life together with him in the eternal World to Come (Ezek. 40-48).

In essence, this vision is an elaboration of the great promise previously given in Ezekiel 37:24-28. To re-read that text is to see immediately that the word “forever” is both prominent and crucial. Israel will dwell in the land forever (25a). The Messianic son of David will be their Prince forever (25b). God will enter into a covenant of peace with them forever (26a). And he will set his sanctuary in their midst forever (26b, 27, 28).

Here, then, is what life will be like in the eschaton, in the World to Come. Here, at long last, the promise of the Eternal Covenant will be fully realized. Here the LORD will be “Israel’s” God, and they his people. Here, every impediment to their union will be removed, and every blessing of that union enjoyed—forever (v. 27).

This is the message of Ezekiel 40-48, as well. Here, however, the promise comes less by way of divine utterance, and more by way of divine vision (40:2).

It is indeed a vast, extended vision, but with a definite structure. Incorporating ideas and images familiar to every godly Israelite, it depicts life in the World to Come under seven memorable motifs: the everlasting Mountain of God (41:1-4), the everlasting Temple of God (40:5-42:20), the everlasting glory of God (43:1-2), the everlasting worship of God (43:13-46:24), and the everlasting River of God (47:1-12), bringing perfect wholeness to the everlasting Homeland of God (47:13-48:29) and to the everlasting City of God (48: 30-35). In a moment we will examine each one.

But first, how is the vision to be interpreted? Confronted with an unavoidable decision to interpret it literally or figuratively, the vast majority of Christian commentators, from the Church fathers on, have opted for the figurative approach. Writes Biederwolf:

The prevailing view has been that it presents in grand outline the good in store for God’s people during the times of the Gospel; that it is a vision of spiritual realities pictorially presented . . . thus expressing under well-known (OT) symbols certain fundamental and eternal ideas with regard to the true worship of God. 

The reasons for this longstanding consensus are many, and well worth a brief discussion.

(To continue reading this long article, please click here)


This is the thirteenth in a short (!) series of posts dealing with the proper interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP). If you’re new to this subject (or to my blog), you’ll want to read the essay with which I introduced the series (just click here).

My goal in these eschatological adventures is two-fold.

First, I want to open up something of the Christ-centered truth and beauty of OTKP to my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Secondly, I want to reason a little with my premillennial brethren. In particular, I want to make the case that we all will best understand, enjoy, and profit from OTKP when we see that its true sphere of fulfillment is: 1) Christ, 2) the New Covenant he instituted by his blood, 3) the two-staged spiritual Kingdom he has already introduced (and will soon consummate), and, 4) the New Covenant community he is creating out of elect Jews and Gentiles: the Church.

In short, I would like my premillennial brothers to reconsider the amillennial approach to the interpretation of OTKP.

Since the end of the age will soon be upon us, it is important that we stand together as much as possible. Seeing eye to eye on eschatology would definitely help. These essays—and the book in progress from which they are extracted—represent my best effort at contributing to that worthy goal.

Ezekiel’s Last Battle (Ezekiel 38-39)

This is a long post. It had to be, because the text it discusses is long, difficult, and very important. Hopefully, you will find it more than worthwhile!

These two controversial chapters describe the Deception, Destruction, and Disposal of Israel’s great eschatological enemies: Gog and his worldwide confederation of evil armies.

In the latter days, by divine decree, they will go up against a people fully restored to the LORD and his covenant blessings. Thinking to annihilate them and seize their homeland, Gog and his armies themselves will be annihilated: Under furious strokes of divine judgment they will fall to their complete and everlasting destruction upon the mountains of Israel.

 

An Oracle of Good News?

While the prospect of such an attack would surely have been unsettling to devout Jews from Ezekiel’s day onward, it is easy to see how they could also reckon it an Oracle of Good News. Yes, God himself is behind the dreadful assault, so it will surely come to pass. But far from being a judgment against his people, it will actually be final retribution against their remaining enemies. Moreover, on that day Israel herself will not even have to fight, for God, as at the Exodus, will fight for her: with pestilence, blood, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

In short, the good news is that this battle will indeed be the last battle; the battle in which God supremely “sets his glory among the nations,” manifesting his absolute sovereignty, justice, wrath, power, goodness, grace, mercy, and love—-and then opening up before his grateful people a door into the eternal blessings of the World to Come (38:16, 23, 39:7, 13, 21).

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This is the twelfth in a series of posts dealing with the proper interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP). If you’re new to this subject (or to my blog), you’ll want to read the essay with which I introduced the series (just click here).

My goal in these eschatological adventures is two-fold.

First, I want to open up something of the Christ-centered truth and beauty of OTKP to my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Secondly, I want to reason a little with my premillennial brethren. In particular, I want to make the case that we all will best understand, enjoy, and profit from OTKP when we see that its true sphere of fulfillment is: 1) Christ, 2) the New Covenant he instituted by his blood, 3) the two-staged spiritual Kingdom he has already introduced (and will soon consummate), and, 4) the New Covenant community he is creating out of elect Jews and Gentiles: the Church.

In short, I would like my premillennial brothers to reconsider the amillennial approach to the interpretation of OTKP.

Since the end of the age will soon be upon us, it is important that we stand together as much as possible. Seeing eye to eye on eschatology would definitely help. These essays—and the book in progress from which they are extracted—represent my best effort at contributing to that worthy goal.

Since the prophetic texts I deal with are quite long, I have not reproduced them here. You will need to bring an open Bible to each blog. My hope and prayer is that you will enjoy them all.

Two Sticks, One Cross, One Nation

In this short OTKP, the prophet’s theme is the Restored Unity of Eschatological Israel. It’s a promise that must have meant a lot to the Jews of Ezekiel’s day.

As far back as patriarchal times, there had been rivalry between Judah and Joseph. In the days of the Judges, tensions flared between Ephraim (Joseph’s son) and the other tribes. Then, under David and Solomon, the nation was briefly united. But all too soon “sin in the flesh” split the nation into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, each with its own center(s) of worship. And thus they remained, even until the deportation of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) at the hand of the Assyrians.

One can well imagine that Ezekiel’s devout contemporaries would have despaired of the twelve tribes—now scattered to the four winds—ever being united again as one nation, as one Kingdom under God.

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This is the eleventh in a series of posts dealing with the proper interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP). If you’re new to this subject (or to my blog), you’ll want to read the essay with which I introduced the series (just click here).

My goal in these eschatological adventures is two-fold.

First, I want to open up something of the Christ-centered truth and beauty of OTKP to my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Secondly, I want to reason a little with my premillennial brethren. In particular, I want to make the case that we all will best understand, enjoy, and profit from OTKP when we see that its true sphere of fulfillment is: 1) Christ, 2) the New Covenant he instituted by his blood, 3) the two-staged spiritual Kingdom he has already introduced (and will soon consummate), and, 4) the New Covenant community he is creating out of elect Jews and Gentiles: the Church.

In short, I would like my premillennial brothers to reconsider the amillennial approach to the interpretation of OTKP.

Since the end of the age will soon be upon us, it is important that we stand together as much as possible. Seeing eye to eye on eschatology would definitely help. These essays—and the book in progress from which they are extracted—represent my best effort at contributing to that worthy goal.

 

Resurrection Life in the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry Bones is a great favorite among Christians, and with good reason: Its evocative symbolism unfailingly calls to mind their own conversion; the happy day when the sovereign Spirit of God lifted them out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death and planted them in Christ, through whom they have now begun to experience the joy of eternal resurrection life (John 11, Rom. 6:1f, Eph. 2:1-12, Col. 1:13).

However, as good NT exegetes we must honestly ask ourselves: Is this really what the Spirit of God had in mind when he gave Ezekiel this mysterious vision and prophecy?

 

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